Posts Tagged ‘London Photos’

July 1986 on Flickr

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Pipe Bridge, Regent’s Canal, Baring St, Islington

I had more time to take pictures in July as my teaching came to an end for the summer vacation around halfway through the month. This meant I could go up to London on some weekdays, though I still had two small boys to look after on days my wife was working. That usually meant staying at home, but sometimes I took them both out with me to London.

Regent’s Canal

I spent some time in Shadwell and Bethnal Green, but also further north in Shoreditch, Hoxton and Dalston, occasionally wandering into Islington. Though I obviously photographed on foot, I had to travel from my home outside London and then around London to the starting point for my walks, and the One Day Capitalcard, valid on all public transport in London after 9.30am made this much simpler after its introduction in June 1986 – the one-day Travelcard launched in 1984 had been for bus and tube only.

The Mission, Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, Hackney

Towards the end of the month I moved my focus to the City of London, even easier for transport then as the Waterloo and City line was still run by British Rail and my ‘London Terminals’ ticket was valid all the way to Bank.

Blackfriars Rail Bridges

When I began photographing London there were two railway bridges across the River Thames at Blackfriars, but all that remained of one of these by 1986 were the pillars that had supported it. And while these were rather a fine set of pillars they were (and remain) a rather curious river feature, presumably left in position simply to save the cost of removing them.

Queenhithe and the River Thames

Queenhithe, a small inlet on the City side of the river has a long history. The Romans built a quay here, and buried deep down in the wet mud some of the timbers they put here survive, as do remains of the dock contructed when Alfred the Great, King of Wessex re-established the City of London aroudn 886 AD. It got the name Queenhithe (a hythe is a small harbour) when Henry I gave the right to levy dues on goods landed there to his wife Matilda around the time of their marriage in 1100. Queenhithe was still a major harbour for the city hundreds of years later and remained in use, with lighters bringing skins for the fur trade which was based a short distance to the north until the Second World War.

Fur shops in Great St Thomas Apostle

Around 300 of the black and white pictures I took in July 1986 are now online:
Peter Marshall: 1986 London Photographs on Flickr.
July’s pictures start here.

The images are copyright but may be shared on non-commercial personal social media. A licence is required for any corporate, commercial or editorial use.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Scanning London

Monday, March 30th, 2020
TQ1985

A few months back I was lying prone inside a giant metal tube on a flat bed which moved me slowly backwards as successive slices across my body were scanned for the purposes of research, and the CT scan reminded me of a project on London which I began in the 1980s.

Nowadays we are all familiar with the idea of geotagging and some cameras can add geotags to the Exif date as you photograph, while gadgets can be fixed onto other cameras to add the data. Smartphones do the same, as they always track you position. The web site https://www.geograph.org.uk Geograph was set up in 2005 to “collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland” and so far 13,114 contributors have submitted 6,397,064 images covering 280,384 of the 1km grid squares, still leaving around 15% should you wish to strike new ground.

TQ2083

I’ve occasionally added geotags to my own landscape pictures in Lightroom, using a free little phone app by one of my sons, ‘Easy GPS Logger’ which records GPS location and time data to a file. You load this into LR along with the pictures, match up any one of them with a particular place on a map and LR then uses the file to add the information to the other pictures. There are only two problems – remembering to turn on the logger at the start of your walk, and secondly to turn it off when you finish!

TQ1982

Back in 1986, the only way to add location data to your photographs was by hand, using a map to find the grid reference. Of course you had to know where you were to do so. I had the idea of doing a series of South to North cross-sections of London based on the Eastings and Northings of the National Grid using colour negative film.

Rather than attempting a series of south-north walks, I simply took a camera with colour negative film on more normal walks while I was photographing London in black and white, then sent the films for processing and printing 6×4″ enprints. When these came back from processing I’d sort out those I wanted to keep and use a map to find the grid references and add these and the date with a technical pen along the lower edge of the print. The date meant (at least in theory) I could find the negatives in my files.

TQ1683

At first I glued the prints onto card sheets to file them under the grid reference in a set of A4 files, but this soon became tedious and I bought filing sheets which held 8 prints, four on each side. Each of the kilometre grid squares had its own filing sheet, and some soon had several, with the series expanding to fill around a dozen A4 files. Each file holds around 50 double-sided sheets and so could hold around 400 prints, though many sheets are not full, so the project probably has around 3,000 or 4,000 prints.

TQ1978

Of course what was more important were the scenes I chose to photograph. I carried in my wallet a reminder of things I was interested in photographing (an idea picked up from reading a list made by Walker Evans), in a small zipped pocket together with a folded £20 note for emergencies. Of course colour was important, not just for itself, but as an illustration of how and why colour was used, and I had a great interest in representations of people and things, in ethnic differences and in the evolution and fashion of colour.

I can’t remember exactly when I ended the project, though it certainly continued well into the 1990s. But at some point I stopped sending colour negative film to be processed and began developing it myself, and producing enprints wasn’t really an option. Instead I made 8×10″ contact prints and worked from these, producing very many fewer but larger prints.

TQ2080

Over the years I’ve probably published or shown only around a hundred of these pictures, the largest group from 1986-90 in the book dummy and web site ‘Café Ideal, Cool Blondes, and Paradise

As with my black and white images of London, this is a body of work which I think has a great deal of historical interest as well as some photographic interest and it would be good to see it in some permanent museum or similar collection rather than simply gathering dust on my shelves.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

London 1986 on Flickr

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

I’ve just uploaded the first tranche of 112 of my black and white pictures from 1986 on to Flickr. These are some of the pictures I took in the first four months of the year.

In 1986 I made around 5500 exposures on black and white film, the great majority of them being photographs taken on the streets of London, concentrating on the fabric of the city – the buildings and shop fronts in particular. At the same time I was also taking colour film, with a greater focus on shops and window displays.

A few of those black and white exposures were taken outside London on holidays and visits to family and friends, and rather more on a project in the industrial areas beside the Thames in Kent from Dartford to Cliffe.

Most motifs were taken with a single frame, carefully thought out and executed much as if I was using a large format camera, rather than the 35mmm Olympus fitted with a shift lens which I used for most of these images. A few received a second exposure, perhaps to concentrate on detail or where I could see an alternative approach and even more rarely I became excited enough to take more.

The almost a thousand images which will eventually be in this album represent about a quarter or a third of this work – the images I now find more interesting. Some of the scans have minor technical problems that annoy me but are probably not apparent to most viewers. Most were made while I was learning to use a DSLR to photograph negatives.

Although I had been walking around London with a camera since 1973 it was really in 1986 that I made a serious start on photographing the city as a whole, much as I had previously concentrated on various areas of docklands. Photographically I was inspired by the work of Eugène Atget in Paris, recording the old city he saw disappearing, but also by the encyclopedic work of Pevsner and his co-workers in ‘The Buildings of England‘, the original series of which were published between 1951-74. These both inspired and infuriated me by their omissions and the sometimes crass judgements and in particular what seemed to be a disdain for the vernacular, the commercial and the industrial. I decided my own view would be more comprehensive and I would photograph any building I found significant or interesting as well as exemplars of the typical.

Later I would often go into the library at the National Building Record, then in Saville Row, and while waiting for my appointment pull one of their London files from the shelves and leaf through its contents. For most areas it was church after church after church, occasionally enlivened by some ancient house or stately home. Perhaps the odd old pub, but little else to reflect where the ordinary people of London lived, worked or shopped. A few of my images helped to widen their collection, much of the older work in which I was told was donated by Church of England clergy with time on their hands and the money to indulge in photography as a hobby.

I had of course set myself an impossible task, and I realised this from the start, but made it even more so by widening my view in later years to take in the whole of Greater London. I kept at work for almost 15 years, by which time I had covered most of those areas that particularly interested me. But it had also become clear to me that times had changed and in particular that technology was changing.

I had already made use of the web to put some of my work online – in my Buildings of London website first put online in 1996 (with later revisions but never brought up to date as I decided it was impossible to scale it up) and this continued with London’s Industrial Heritage in 1999. The images on these sites reflect the But by 2000 it was clear to me that the impact of digital photography would lead to the city becoming on-line as a whole in a new way that made the continuance of my project redundant.

Google brought this to fruition with the launch of Street View in 2007, though I think it only came to London in 2008. When you view an area on this now, you can probably see it as it was some time in the last year, but, if you are fortunate, can also go back to various other views taken as far back as 2008. But for those relatively few areas and buildings in my pictures you may be able to go back to 1986. Much of London has changed dramatically since then.

Richmond Ave, Islington 86-2d-42_2400

You can watch them here, but its better to go to Flickr and watch them at a larger size.


London 1980 (13)

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

The 13th of the series of posts of selected black and white pictures I made in 1980 with the comments I posted more recently daily on Facebook. Larger versions of the pictures are now available on Flickr.


LIFE, Waterloo Station. 1980
26a-12: stairs, graffiti

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26a-12.htm

I used often to walk past this scrawled message on my way into Waterloo Station, though I can’t remember exactly where it was, but these stairs are long since demolished or hidden away from the public. The area was dimly lit and I think I photographed it on several occasions before getting a satisfactory result.

There was a certain desperation about the lettering which looked as if it had been made quickly by someone who dipped a hand into white paint to make these marks. And I pondered on what message was intended, as I stopped to photograph it in the rather dim light.


Albert Memorial, Kensington. 1980
26i-62: monument, girls

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26i-62.htm

Back in 1980 on my way to the Serpentine Galley I stopped to look at the Albert Memorial, then open to the public in much the same way at Nelson’s column still is, with tourists and their children climbing on the lower levels to have their photographs taken with the sculptures at its four corners and surrounding it.

As I was photographing a group of four girls came and climbed up on the low ledge to put their hands on the figures of the great artists – including Masaccio, Raphael, Michael Angelo and others – along the base of the memorial. This was the second of two frames I took of them.


Chelsea Bridge, Chelsea. 1980
2l-55: power station, bridge, runners, people

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26l-55.htm

In December 1980 it was my turn to organise the month’s photographic outing for the small group of photographers I was involved in. Somehow my plan for a walk from Victoria to Battersea and Wandworth lacked appeal and I was the only person who turned up for it.

Taken with the Leitz 35mm f1.4 Summilux, the large circular flare patch is something of an enigma. I think it likely that the lens was well-stopped down, since I was working on ISO400 film (Ilford XP1) and the negative is quite underexposed. The low December sun has resulted in long shadows and a dramatic image, with Battersea Power Station and the people in near silhouette.

The sun was just out of picture at top right, and this negative was virtually unprintable in the darkroom


Chelsea Bridge, Chelsea. 1980
26l-56: power station, bridge,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26l-56.htm

Another picture from almost the same place, but without people and with different flare. As well as a couple of large ellipses there are also some rather vague ‘rays’ and a small black spot… The specks in the sky are birds.

One of Battersea Power Stations four chimneys was hidden behind a part of the bridge in the previous picture, but here we can see it clearly with smoke emerging. The western half of the power station was closed in 1975, but the eastern half, where smoke is emerging from the rear chimney remained in operation until 1983.

Earlier in 1980 the whole power station had been listed Grade II as there were grave concerns for the future of the building. Unfortunately listing failed to save more than the shell of the building and its roof was removed in the late 1980s. Various development schemes fell through and the building was left to rot. The listing was revised to Grade II* in 2007, and the redevelopment of the whole area began in 2012.

The four chimneys were removed by the Malaysian-owned developers in 2014 because they were heavily corroded, but have now been replaced by near identical replicas. The power station development is due for completion in 2019, providing 254 homes along with offices and retail space, with the whole 42 acre redevelopment being completed by 2025. It is part of the huge 561 acres Nine Elms development – almost 0.9 square miles.


Swan Matches, Victoria. 1980
26l-63: advert, building, street,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26l-63.htm

The Lost Property office was on Eccleston Bridge, on the corner of Bridge Place; the building is still there but the Swan Vestas advert has long been painted over and the building passed to other uses.

The foreground wall and the office building in the background are still there though the offices have been slightly updated.


Roundabout, Wandsworth. 1980
26p-32: roundabout, storage tanks,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26p-32.htm

I pass this roundabout every time I take the train into Waterloo. It was the location where Alex and his Droogs attack a tramp in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The roundabout links Trinity Road with Wandsworth Bridge.

Back in 1980 all of the riverside around here was industrial. NF graffiti were common over London. I think the tilt in this picture was deliberate, perhaps to increase a sense of unease in the scene.


Fence with NF graffiti, Wandsworth. 1980
26r-21 fence graffiti, worker

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26r-21.htm

Some effort has been made to make the corrugated iron fencing more attractive by painting it in two colours. I can’t read the flyposted notices, which do appear to have a radioactive hazard symbol on them but the National Front graffiti is clear and was unfortunately common across London at this time.

I’m not sure exactly where this was taken, although the wall behind the fence is fairly distinctive, as are the steeple and flats at right. It was probably on or close to Vicarage Crescent or Lombard Rd.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.